Balloon releases and the law
From 1 July 2021, EPA will have increased powers to prevent harm to the environment from pollution and waste.
There are penalties for releasing balloons into the environment.
Under section 115 of the Environment Protection Act 2017, fines are:
- up to six penalty units ($991) for a person
- up to 30 penalty units ($4956) for a company.
For a series of balloon releases, and if taken to court, penalties are:
- up to 100 penalty units ($16,522) for a person
- up to 500 penalty units ($82,610) for a company.
If your activities, such as using helium balloons, pose a risk to the environment, you must take steps to minimise the risks.
How to manage risks to the environment from balloon use
EPA recommends that you don’t use balloons outdoors. If using balloons is unavoidable make sure you strongly secure them. Make sure you correctly dispose of accessories like clips and ribbons.
Alternatives to balloons include:
- blowing bubbles
- floating flowers
- reusable or recyclable bunting
- paper decorations
- planting a tree
You can read more about alternatives and register your balloon free event at zoo.org.au/balloons
Balloon litter and the environment
Wildlife can be seriously harmed or killed by balloons and their attachments. They can become entangled or ingest balloon litter.
Balloons floating in the water can look like squid or jellyfish. Marine mammals, sea birds and turtles often mistake them for food. In Victoria, seals and other animals have been known to become entangled in balloon ribbons which can cause lasting damage.
Zoos Victoria’s campaign, when balloons fly, seabirds die, has more information about how you can take action.
Sustainability Victoria has more information about preventing pollution from balloons.
More about reporting pollution
Reviewed 23 July 2021